A stroll through Malawian politics

Politics in Malawi are weird and just got a lot weirder.

For about 20 years Malawi had a dictator named Banda. He dictated that
women can't wear trousers, that men must have short hair, and that
Cecilia by Simon and Garfunkle must never be played, ever. Most
Malawians seem to have fond memories of the time under him.

Maluzi took over. It was stereotypical African democracy including an
attempt to change the constitution so he could go on ruling after his
time ran out. That failed so he hand picked Bingu as his successor,
mostly because Maluzi figured Bingu would just do whatever he told him
to do. Maluzi would be in a position to do this as head of their
political party, the UDF.

Bingu is currently president. When he first took over he made a lot of
vows about fighting corruption and various people got sacked. This
included some people that Maluzi liked. Maluzi got pissed, and at one
point a meeting between Maluzi's men and Bingu ended before it began
because Maluzi's men were found carrying concealed weapons. Bingu then
dropped out of the UDF to form his own party.

A few weeks ago the world's wealthy countries announced a big
debt-write off for poor countries. Malawians were excited, but
ultimately denied, because the country is perceived as being too
corrupt to be worthy of this gesture. People were upset, because Bingu
had been making some big strides in his fight against corruption.

The next day Bingu's brand new cars make the paper. Three Mercedes
Benzes, each one costing half a million dollars. One for him, one for
his wife, and one more just in case.

Impeachment chatter begins, and is consumated with preparations for a
secret vote in parliament. Parliament goes crazy, the speaker of the
house collapses during a tense moment, and soon dies.

That was yesterday. Meanwhile the country is preparing for a food
shortage in July and August that will surely result in thousands and
thousands of people starving.

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